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High‐speed railroads and economic geography: Evidence from Japan

Zhigang Li and Hangtian Xu

Journal of Regional Science, 2018, vol. 58, issue 4, 705-727

Abstract: Our study shows that high‐speed railroads (HSR) can either polarize or diffuse economic geography based on the sector and distance between cities. Economic activities could agglomerate from distant to core areas, while disperse from core toward its periphery at the same time. Empirical evidence from the 1982 introduction of two major HSRs in Japan, which halved intercity transit time, support this. Noncore areas lost 3–6 percent population; service employment declined 7 percent, whereas manufacturing employment increased by 21 percent. Municipalities within approximately 150 km of Tokyo expanded, while the distant ones contracted. The net result is that the Tokyo metropolitan area agglomerates because of HSR.

Date: 2018
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